Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Former Minister for Finance; Commerce; Small Business

    WA co-operatives a $6billion industry

    22/11/2011 12:00 AM
    • Commerce Minister recognises importance of co-operatives
    • Co-operatives a vital part of the WA economy

    Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien today recognised the importance of co-operatives to Western Australia’s economy, during the Perth launch of the United Nation’s International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) in 2012.


    Mr O’Brien said the top 20 co-operatives, mutuals and credit unions in WA had a combined annual turnover of $5.8billion and employed almost 5,000 people, making them an integral part of the State’s business landscape.


    “The fact that four of the top five of these enterprises in Australia are based in WA is proof that this business model is highly successful here and our enterprising talent has ensured their success,” he said.


    “Next year will see international recognition of co-operatives through IYC 2012 initiatives across the world, which will put a spotlight on the massive contribution these make to social and economic development in many countries. 


    “In this State, co-operatives were largely begun in rural and remote areas, servicing mostly primary industries.  Today they cover a wide range of activities, including farming; fishing; meat processing; motoring and automotive services; hardware; irrigation; building; and distribution services.


    “The philosophy of a sustainable business model providing benefit to members and their communities makes co-operatives and other member-based organisations a particularly resilient form of enterprise in the face of financial uncertainty. 


    “The State Government’s overhaul of the Co-operatives Act in 2009 gave WA the most modern legislation in Australia, and perhaps the world in respect to this industry.


    A dedicated unit has been established at the Department of Commerce to provide advice and support to co-operatives, highlighting their importance and our confidence in the future of this vital sector of our economy.”


          Fact File

    • The top 20 member-based enterprises in WA have a combined annual turnover of almost $6billion, employ 4,700 people and represent 1.75 million members
    • Four of the top five member-based enterprises in Australia are from WA - CBH Group (first); HBF (third); Capricorn Society (fourth); and RAC WA (fifth) based on turnover
    • Department of Commerce - 1300 136 237

    Minister’s office - 9213 6400